Tradition and Innovation: Traditional Paremiological Units in Dialogue with Contemporary Use
Tradicionalne paremiološke enote v dialogu s sodobno rabo

No. of contract:

from 01.09.2020 to 31.08.2023


Proverbial expressions are a type of set phrases used in every day language and determined by a specific community of users, as well as time and place of emergence. They are short folklore forms with great semantical potential, which reveals worldviews and values, instructions and prohibitions of certain culture. The tradition of their usage and their role of carrying culture through their semantics classifies them as part of intangible heritage. Proverbs are considered cultural signs that encapsulate lots of data on culture and society, and can therefore be used to reveal stereotypes and images that can persist for a long time in a given society. However, a different context can change their semantics even though their form stays the same. The complex intertwining of different semantical levels in proverbs can most efficiently be observed with semiotic and ethnolinguistic approaches which can be efficiently analyzed only with appropriate digital database and methodologies of text-mining that can link the mentioned material with contemporary concrete uses of proverbs.

The ZRC SAZU Institute of Slovenian Ethnology keeps an extensive and highly valuable collection of Slovenian proverbs, 50 years and more in the making, but so far they have not been structured in line with the contemporary standards for digital language resources nor made publicly accessible. Due to the fact that folklore studies have been often overlooked and underestimated as a promising area in Slovenian research, the field has, unfortunately, only been scraping along in trying to catch up with the world research trends, especially in collaborating with digital humanities and extended methods of analysis. The project includes two main goals, which will be reached with parallel research and development. Based on this, the first goal of the project is to establish a link between folklore studies and digital humanities, which will significantly increase the depth of the analysis as well as encourage the linking of folklore materials to digital corpora, thus immensely enriching the corpora content. By so doing, the project will promote a methodological improvement and advancement of Slovenian folklore studies making it more competitive with the most advanced research trends in folkloristics. The second main goal of the project is to use semiotic and ethnolinguistic analysis of the proverbs collected from both the archives and interactions form everyday communication in order to map out the social stereotypes present and communicated in proverbs and thus offer a deeper understanding of the cultural environment. The analysis will also seek to answer the question if proverbs as part of intangible heritage are mainly isolated, unused forms found in archives or they are, and to what extent, part of on-going everyday communication.

The results of the project will be presented to the academic audience through participation on international conferences and symposia, scientific publications in reference journals and concluding proceedings, and by using the project web page, which additionally will be used to communicate the results to the general audience that will be more specifically targeted through mass media and social networks.

The research will contribute to the development of Slovenian science, mostly by connecting and developing the research fields of folklore and digital humanities, a field that has not been yet done in the Slovenian research context; and by positioning Slovenian folklore material on an international research stage through the creation of publicly available data base. The ccomplishment if the latter will not only launch Slovenian folklore material into international stage but will also fill the gap between the current (non-digitized) state of Slovenian research in folklore studies and the more advanced worldwide recognized and practiced trends.